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In-School Arts Residency – Building a Nest

Four story brick building with adjacent courtyard

by Catherine Aiello, Children's Art Centre Program Coordinator

Building Nests

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The K2 students at the Hurley and Blackstone schools recently spent a class "thinking like birds" as they created their own nest sculptures. As part of their Animals and Habitats unit, K-2 students learn about Owls. Although owls do not build as impressive nests as many other birds (many simply line a hole or burrow with some leaves), they share with all birds the need to keep their eggs and babies safe and protected.

In class, students watched a video of a robin building a nest using grasses and straw, observed a real nest and the materials the bird used to make it (twigs, grasses, mud and even some bits of plastic!) and then created their own nests using air dry clay, sticks, grass, string, pipe cleaners and more!

Building Nests

Each and every time I do this project with kindergarteners I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and empathy they show. Again and again, students think about the best way to protect the eggs and provide a safe, comfortable place for baby birds. Many students used bits of cotton to line the inside to make it "soft and comfy." Some placed fences of sticks around the edge to keep out predators. Still other created structures of various heights on the nests "so that the baby birds can practice flying."

Students take a design challenge like this seriously, problem solving, taking inspiration from others and imagining it from the perspective of another creature- all important skills in life and in art.

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